CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) - James Holmes was sane when he opened fire inside a crowded Colorado movie theater in 2012, killing 12 and wounding dozens more, a court-appointed psychiatrist testified on Thursday in the 27-year-old gunman’s murder trial.
Psychiatrist William Reid said that while the onetime neuroscience graduate student has “serious psychiatric issues,” he knew right from wrong when he went on the July 2012 rampage.
“My opinion is that whatever he suffered from, it did not prevent him from forming the intent and knowing what he was doing and the consequences of what he was doing,” Reid said.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder stemming from the shooting spree during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty for the California native if he is convicted.
Reid was appointed by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour after he concluded that a first sanity examination conducted by a separate psychiatrist was deficient.
Defense attorneys objected to the second evaluation, although prosecutors have said the initial examiner likewise concluded Holmes was sane.
Samour denied a motion for a mistrial that defense attorneys requested after Reid rendered his opinion.
Reid said he interviewed Holmes nine times, and videotaped all 22 hours of the sessions, which prosecutors said they plan on showing to the jury.
Defense lawyers have said their own psychiatrist has diagnosed Holmes with schizophrenia.
During opening statements last month, public defender Daniel King showed jurors jail videos of Holmes running headlong into his cell wall, and falling backwards off his bunk, crashing the back of his head on the floor.
Reid said he reviewed the jail videos and it was apparent Holmes had a psychiatric breakdown after his arrest, but the issue was his state of mind at the time of the shootings.
Reporting by Keith Coffman in Centennial; Editing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Lisa Lambert in Washington